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Pictoplasma prides itself on being a “global” platform for character art, holding major conferences in Berlin and New York, as well as scattered events across other countries. As a result of the pandemic, it is holding its first truly global event: Pictoplasma in Isolation, an online festival that’s free and open to all.

The initiative, which will take place September 18–19, replaces this year’s Berlin conference, which was due to be held on May 13–17 before the coronavirus hit. The program resembles Pictoplasma’s real-life events, featuring talks and an academic-leaning symposium alongside programs of animated shorts (77 in all). The talks are given by artists from a range of disciplines — sculptors, illustrators, actors, mask makers — with character design as a running theme.

As always, there’s a big animation contingent. Here are this year’s speakers with ties to the industry:

  • Dan Woodger — illustrator/animation director (U.K.)
  • David OReilly — artist/filmmaker, Please Say Something (Ireland/U.S.)
  • Eran Hilleli — animation director, co-creator of Looom (Israel)
  • Guillaumit — illustrator/graphic and motion designer (France)
  • Haein Kim — illustrator/animator for Uniqlo, MTV (Austria)
  • Joseph Melhuish — illustrator/animation director for Vice, MTV (U.K.)
  • Julian Glander — visual artist, gif creator (U.S.)
  • Lucas Zanotto — designer/animator (Italy/Finland)
  • Miranda Tacchia — character designer/layout artist for Disney, Nickelodeon (U.S.)
  • Nathan Jurevicius — creator, Scarygirl (Australia/Canada)
  • Niki Lindroth von Bahr — animation director, Something to Remember (Sweden)
  • Philip Hunt — creative director, Studio AKA (U.K.)
  • Ruby Gloom — virtual avatar (Hong Kong)
  • Sarina Nihei — animation director, Small People with Hats (Japan)
  • Tomás García — cg animation artist/director (Argentina)
  • Untitled Army — animation director (Brazil)
  • Will Anderson — writer/director, The Making of Longbird (U.K.)

Pictoplasma in Isolation’s film program is broken down into four themed screenings, with an overall emphasis on short, edgy, boldly designed works. Fittingly, the focus of this year’s symposium is “The Mask in Contemporary Visual Culture”; academics, theorists, activists, and artists will discuss the significance of the essential accessory of our age.

All events will be live-streamed. For more information on registering, head to Pictoplasma’s website.

(Image at top: Artwork by UntitledArmy.)